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Amnesty slams Asian countries on human rights

Violence against women, extrajudicial killings the main violations

  • ucanews.com reporters
  • Asia
  • May 23, 2013
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Asian countries have come under fire from London-based rights watchdog Amnesty International in its annual report published on Wednesday.

Bangladesh came in for some heavy criticism over its rights record over the last year, pointing to several areas where flagrant violations have occurred.

“Some 30 extrajudicial executions were reported. State security forces were implicated in torture and other ill-treatment and at least 10 enforced disappearances. Political violence resulted in the death of at least four men,” the report said.

Women in Bangladesh are subjected to various forms of violence including acid attacks, murder for failing to pay a requested dowry, floggings for religious offences by illegal arbitration committees, domestic violence, and sexual violence.

Amnesty also slated the government for failing to protect religious and ethnic minorities and workers from abuses and attacks, and said that least one person a week died in 2011 at the hands of law enforcers in Bangladesh.

North Korea’s record of imprisonment of dissidents also received heavy criticism, but Catherine Baber, Amnesty’s deputy director for the Asia-Pacific, said the recent launching of the UN Commission of Inquiry for North Korea is “an encouraging step” towards addressing “the gross and systematic nature of these human rights violations” there.

South Korea meanwhile did not escape scrutiny. Its controversial National Security Law was being used by the government “to control online debate on North Korea,” according to Byun Jeong-pil, chief coordinator of Amnesty Korea.

He cited the case of Park Jeong-geun, who was sentenced last November to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years, for violating the law after “satirically re-tweeting messages from a banned North Korean website.”

In Sri Lanka, “unlawful detentions, torture and enforced disappearances remained rife and went unpunished,” according to the report, with human rights defenders, journalists and members of the judiciary harassed by government officials and supporters.

The group has counted more than 20 alleged enforced disappearances reported in Sri Lanka last year.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said during a speech last week that he would continue the fight against anti-Sri Lankan forces who were trying to “divide the motherland”.

Amnesty says however that authorities “continued to rely on the Prevention of Terrorism Act to arrest and detain suspects for lengthy periods without charge or trial.

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